Take Note of Playthrough Requirements

Any time that you are considering playing at an online casino for one of its bonuses make sure that you pay attention to the playthrough requirements it has. Playthrough requirements essentially say that you have to gamble a certain amount of money before you’ll unlock any bonuses from the casino at all. Usually the amount that you have to gamble depends on the game type that you are playing, and where you’re playing at. Pokies tend to be the most favourable with the lowest playthrough requirements, so it will be easier for you to meet these requirements. Just make sure you pay attention to the requirements before joining a casino, because you’ll want to play at a site with 30x requirements before one with 40x requirements if you want a better shot at getting that welcome bonus.

The absolute first order of business for any online pokie player is to learn how online casinos manage their respective bonus systems, and the different approaches that online casinos have adopted. Although there are some exotic bonus programs out there, the vast majority of online casinos offer some combination of the bonuses profiled below.

The No Deposit Bonus

This is exactly what it sounds like, a bonus that is awarded to the player before they ever make a real money deposit. These bonuses tend to be small (they frequently fall in the $5 to $10 range), but they’re definitely worth collecting if the opportunity presents itself. Be advised, however, that these bonuses tend to come with some strings. Specifically:

  • There are usually game restrictions tied to these bonuses (this almost never affects pokie players, but players of other games should make sure that they can use this bonus money for their game of choice before accepting it).
  • There is often a cap on the amount of money a player can win from playing one of these bonuses. The internet is filled with stories from angry pokie players who redeemed their no deposit bonuses, hit some kind of mammoth jackpot on a pokie, and then learned, to their horror, that the casino wasn’t going to pay them their winnings.

In sum, these bonuses are fun to collect, and they can be profitable, but don’t expect to make a king’s ransom by playing with them. It’s best to think of them as a way to acquaint yourself with the casino and its games without having to pony up your own money.

The Match Bonus

A match bonus offers the player a percentage of their deposit in the form of a bonus. So, if you deposit $150, and the casino offers a 50 percent match, you’ll have a total of $225 to play with (your original $150, plus the $75 for the 50 percent match). These bonuses don’t come with all of the restrictions of the no deposit bonus, but there will still be some rules that the casino will make you follow if you want to play with one of these bonuses. For instance, there will be what’s called a “play-through requirement,” which means that you’re going to have to give the casino a certain amount of action before the bonus can be cashed out.

So, for example, if you deposit $100, and the casino gives you a 100 percent match (in other words, another $100) with a 20x play-through requirement, that generally means you’ll have to give the casino $4,000 worth of action before you can cash out. We say “generally” because while some casinos will make you play through your bonus and your deposit ‘x’ number of times before cash out, there are some that will only make you play through the bonus ‘x’ number of times. If you’re unsure which of these requirements the casino imposed, put in a call and clarify things before you get started.

The Sticky Bonus

A sticky bonus is one that cannot be withdrawn from the casino; thus, once you’ve reached the play-through requirement, you can withdraw whatever money you have in your account that’s in excess of the bonus. So, if a casino offered you 500 percent sticky bonus on a $200 deposit, which results in a $1,000 bonus, you can withdraw any money in your account that’s in excess of $1,000 once you’ve met the wagering requirement.

Many online pokie players run from these bonuses like the plague, but in reality they can be quite profitable. While it’s true that you can’t withdraw the bonus, you CAN withdraw any winnings that you earn while gambling with the bonus. Furthermore, the sticky bonuses tend to be much larger (as a percentage of your deposit) than the typical match bonus, which means they offer you a great value for your pokie-playing dollar.

Loyalty Bonuses

These are bonuses that are offered exclusively to regular players at a casino. Fifteen years ago the online pokie landscape was dominated by match bonuses; however, as the competition for players has increased, more and more casinos are placing a greater emphasis on the loyalty bonus. What this means to you, the pokie player, is that you should probably spend less time ‘casino jumping’, and more time playing at a single casino that you enjoy. The total value of your bonuses is going to be higher this way, and you’ll save yourself the trouble and aggravation of constantly switching from casino to casino.

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